March 30, 2016
I have never liked the word “esports.” In fact, I don’t like many words with the e- prefix: ecommerce, etrade, ebanking. While I recognize that there needs to be some way to distinguish the tangible brick-and-mortar type establishments in our society from the intangible mess of the internet, there is something so cheapening about this simple morpheme. The debate over what to call competitive video games is a bit foolish to me, but seeing the reaction from the establishment puts a smile on my face. Though I’m quite certain that my dad will never fully recognize or appreciate esports for what they truly are, namely a rigorous test of mechanical skill and mental prowess, it is certain that esports are here to stay.
World of Warcraft has had a bittersweet journey in the domain of esports. The earliest competitions date back to 2007 with the World Series of Video Games, where Pandemic Gaming (then coached by Vhell), competed against MOB Gaming in the clunkiest and most awkward series of 3v3 matches I have ever seen. The tournament format has seen plenty of iterations, and WoW esports have matured into a more organized structure. The most recent change to WoW tournaments was introduction of the four man roster, something which we saw played out at Blizzcon 2015. Whether or not this format is healthy for WoW esports has been questioned by some, but one thing is certain: WoW seems to be lacking the sort of footing that other games seem to have when it comes to delivering an enjoyable esports experience.